Gov. Kristi Noem draws crowds and protestors to Brevard GOP event amid dog-killing scandal

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Controversial South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem's visit to Cape Canaveral drew Democratic protestors who opposed her giving the keynote speech a Brevard County Republican Party event.

Noem was invited to speak at the local party's annual Lincoln Reagan Dinner amid backlash from both sides of the aisle this past month for writing in her book about an incident in which she shot and killed a family dog after it attacked a neighbor's chickens and displayed other aggressive behaviors.

“I hated that dog,” Noem wrote in the excerpt from "No Going Back: The Truth on What's Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward." The dog, a 14-month-old wirehaired pointer named Cricket, was "untrainable" and "dangerous to anyone she came in contact with," Noem added.

Shortly after the dog's killing was reported, all nine Native American tribes in South Dakota voted to ban Noem from their reservations citing comments she had made asserting that some tribal leaders are benefiting from drug cartels as well as other disparaging comments.

Noem has repeatedly doubled down on her controversial statements and been reported as a possible running mate for Donald Trump. But her comments have drawn condemnation from both Democrats and Republicans and sparking the formation of a bipartisan "dog-lovers" congressional caucus.

Chairman of the Brevard Republican Executive Committee Rick Lacey said he didn't see any issue with inviting Noem. He noted the hundreds of tickets that had been sold to the dinner. Tickets for the fundraising event were more than $100 per person.

"They're worried about a person who put down a vicious dog 22 years ago, but were they protesting Barack Obama when he wrote in his book that he cooked and ate a dog in Indonesia?" Lacey said outside the event Saturday evening.

In Obama's 1995 memoir, the former president recounts how as a child in Indonesia his stepfather at the time had exposed him to dog meat along with other animal products including snake and grasshopper.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, considered to be contender for Donald Trump’s running mate, was the guest speaker at the Radisson at the Port Saturday evening for a Republican event. Across the street, a small group of protesters gathered in the rain and lightning. The group was protesting having her as a speaker after she claimed in her book that she killed her dog Cricket. She said the dog was dangerous.

Leading the protest across from the Cape Canaveral Radisson, Brevard Democrats chairwoman Pamela Castellana said the group of around a dozen protestors standing in the rain had received plenty of support from passersby.

"Our sheriff, one of the highest elected officials in our county, makes a point against animal cruelty every day," Castellana said, noting Sheriff Wayne Ivey's hard stance against anyone facing animal cruelty charges.

She said that created a sense of cognitive dissonance within the Republican party locally over the invitation of Noem to speak at the GOP gathering.

"A lot of rational Republican voters are not necessarily connected with the Brevard Republicans who toe that line," Castellana said.

Tyler Vazquez is the Brevard County and North Brevard Watchdog Reporter at FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Vazquez at 321-480-0854 or

This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Gov. Kristi Noem draws crowds and protestors to Brevard County GOP event